Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Whixh do ypu do?

    Giving is the basis of Christianity.  Christ is the greatest gift anyone could ever hope to receive!  God willingly and freely CHOSE to give us the wonderful gift of eternal life thru His Son.  There was nothing He needed from man except his love in return.
     I have found there are two types of givers among us Christians: those who give TO BE blest and those who give because THEY ARE BLEST .  Which type are YOU?
     I think we need to realize that God OWES us nothing!  The very fact He has saved us is much more than we could ever deserve.  If He never did another thing besides save us what more could we ask?  After all, we are saved by GRACE so everything that follows is certainly by the same.
     It would GREATLY please God if we changed our attitudes about giving.  How glorified He would be if, the next time we were ready to give we would do it BECAUSE we are blest and not because we want to be blest.  Think about it!  Bro Don

Thursday, January 12, 2012


This saying brought to mind several special baptisms I have had, one in the U. S. and several on the mission field/Mexico.
     While pastoring in Colorado several years ago I was invited to preach a revival in the Wyoming State Prison, one of the oldest in the nation.  During that time a man in his 50s that had been in and out of jail since he was 14 and was sentenced to life, received Christ as his personal Savior.  A year later I returned there to preach another revival and noticed how the old man had grown in grace.  He began begging me to baptize him.  I did have the authority of our church but, what about permission?  It took a while but I finally got the permission of the warden IF I could find a way since we only baptize by immersion.  Finally we found a way -- he was baptized in the mechanic shop in the vat where they tested radiators y repaired tires.  Where there's a will there's a way.
     Some years later in Mexico there was a young man converted to Christ in the mountains.  The area had seen a long, dry summer and there was little water to be found.  But, where there's a will there's a way.  The young man took a shovel and went to a small stream and dug a large hole which finally filled up from the trickle of water.  He sat down in the hole, the Mexican pastor knelt beside him and he was baptized.  Many of our Mexican churches do not have baptistries.
     At another time, one of our new missions had a number of new believers ready for baptism also.  Again, how to accomplish this Bible commandment?  A man brought a large plastic kiddie pool and filled it with water.  Again the converts had to sit down in the water with the pastor kneeling and baptizing them.  Where there's a will there's a way.
     And just recently there was a special baptism that we could certainly call, making your public profession of faith.  There were four ready to be baptized.  That particular church usually baptizes in the ocean.  However, there was an unusually high surf which made it unwise to use the ocean.
     The pastor went to the municipal outdoor swimming pool and got permission for a baptismal service in the pool.  It was granted because the man in charge is a BELIEVER and said he had never seen that happen there but was for it.  Our climate is such that the pool stays open all year for the brave ones. The congregation and baptismal candidates arrived at the pool.  The man asked ALL the swimmers to leave the pool for the moment.  While the congregation was singing the two young men, two young ladies and the Mexican pastor entered the pool.  There was an applaus when each one was baptized!  What a testimony for Christ in a catholic country!  REMEMBER, Where there's a will there's a way!

Friday, January 6, 2012

First baby's funeral on the mission field.

     During my American ministry I had conducted several funerals for babies and it is always difficult for me.  But, my first funeral for a baby on the mission field was particularly difficult!  This was over 25 years ago so Mexico was really more primitive.
     One day a young mother came to our church in Rosarito to inform me that her 6-month-old baby had passed away in the General Hospital in Tijuana and there was a problem.  You see, people die evrery day in this large hospital for the poor.  So, vans from the funeral homes are parked there and as soon as someone dies they pick the body up and the family is just told where the body is.  Then you have a battle if you do not want their services.  This had happened in this case.
     In Mexico, if you bury the body within 24 hours it does not have to be imbalmed and at that time you could prepare the body and bury it yourself.  So, that was our plans.  However, the funeral home did not want to release the body and told me, as an American, they were sure I could pay for the funeral.  Right!
     I knew the officials in Rosarito so I rushed back there to get the paperwork to force them to give me the body.  In the meantime I directed the young men of the Bible Institute to make a plywood coffin out of some left-over plywood from a building project while I and the mother went for the body.
   When we got back to the funeral home they were SO angry they handed me the body wrapped in the same bloody sheet from the hospital.  I cannot describe how I felt at that moment!  In the van the mother asked if she could uncover the face,  Man!  They didn't teach this in Missions in Bible College!
     When we got back to Rosarito, Edna and the girls had put a nice pillow in the box and had stapled a white bedsheet around the box.  They cleaned the little body and dressed him and laid him in the box.  The girls made artificial flowers out of colored cleenex.While this was being down the men students went to the cemetery and dug the grave by hand,  We rounded up some members and headed for the church for the service.  Time was running out.  We had the service and as the sun was setting we shoveled on the last dirt.
     BUT, that is not the end of the story.  As Americans, we would have felt terrible to need to bury a loved one in such a poor manner.  However, at the next service, during the testimony time. the mother stood and expressed how thankful she was to have her Christian family in the church.  She said her baby would not have had such a BEAUTIFUL funeral otherwise!  I'm SO glad we came and that you sent us.  Bro Don

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Was it the most inopportune time?

     Shortly after moving to Rosarito, MX I started a Bible Institute in our diningroom.  It quickly grew as well as the little church so I announced we would start a soul-winning conference on Monday morning.  The students were to be involved as well as some of the church members.
     I must tell you that  rain in the Baja Peninsula of Mexico is scarce and when it comes it usually comes all at once maybe a couple times per year.  That particular Sunday Night before the conference the tailend of a hurricane swept thru our area and by Monday morning we had torrential rains!  The students lived in part of the church facilities so they were present.  The plans were to study methods of soul-winning and then go out to witness.  So, I did the teaching and announced that obviously we could not knock doors.
     A young male student raised his hand and told me that he was the ONLY one in his large family that was a believer and couldn't we drive a few miles out of town on the highway and witness to his family.  He explained that was a VERY opportune time because none of his family could get out to work.  He further explained that his married brother and his wife were there so the ENTIRE family would be home.
     Finally, he convinced me and with the wipers going as fast as they could and me driving very slowly we made it to the humble 3 room house with about 10 people present.  They were very receptive and we had plenty of time to thoroughly explain the Gospel.  Several of the family knelt and confessed Christ as Savior.
Among them was the married brother.
     Time passed and one by one they were baptized and became active in the church.  Later, the married brother and his wife entered the Bible Institute and graduated.  Two years later they started their own church, which just celebrated their 20th anniversary as a church.
     Oh, by the way, the young married man was Roberto Munguia, that is now my missionary assistant!
What we thought was a very inpportune time turned out to be God's perfect time.  Had it not stormed that day we probably wouldn't have gone there.
     What a thrill it has been to watch God work over these 35 years on the mission field!  You know what?  God has some very exciting things in store for you if you will only be available.  Someone said, success with the Lord is 5% ability and 95% availability.  I want to be 100% available.  What about YOU?  Bro Don

Monday, January 2, 2012

How God protects what is His.

     It was in the early days of my missionary ministry in Rosarito.  I was starting our first Eosarito mission from the main church.  (I had started others in the Mexicali area before moving to Rosarito).
     I had found a lot and purchased it and one of our supporting churches had sent $1,800.00 to start the building.  In those days that would have covered a great part of the construction of the little mission church.  I had purchased a few things to get the foundation started.
     In those days we did not have a telephone so I had to use a public phone downtown in Rosarito.  I laid the money pouch on top of the public phone while making my call.  I had received a letter from a pastor asking me to call.  During the call he informed me their church was going to give the money to FINISH the mission building!  I was SO excited I hurried home to tell Edna the good news.  Suddenly I remembered I had left the money pouch on top of the public phone.
     In a panic I broke all speed limits getting back downtown.  I wanted to drop dead right there in the street!  It was not there!  I had foolishly lost the sacrificial giving of God's people.  I felt like I had also greatly let those new Mexican converts down.  I felt HORRIBLE!!
     Then I heard a voice say to me in Spanish, "Looking for this?"  I turned and saw an old man with an icecream cart holding up the bag.  I still was sick at heart becuase I thought someone had taken the money and thrown away the pouch.  With heavy steps I walked into the street and took the bag.  BUT, it did feel to heavy to be empty!  I opened it up and ALL THE MONEY WAS THERE. 
     Then the old man told me the story.  He saw a young boy grab the pouch and he told him that it belonged to a missionary and that I would soon return for it.  Miraculously the boy gave him the bag.  I took out a good-sized bill to reward that old man so he would at least have one day he wouldn't have to push that cart thru the streets.  What he said shocked me greatly!
     He said, "I know you are the missionary and that is God's money.  I couldn't touch God's money, OH NO."  Of course I thanked him profusely AND thanked God He had looked after me in my carelessness.
Just think of how many times God has looked after you.  Bro Don

Sunday, January 1, 2012

Have you ever tried this?

There is nothing more boring than to try to have a conversation with a person that does all the talking.  I recently had a man that came to me and told me he needed my advice about a certain problem in his life.  First of all, he told me what I felt with statements like, "I know you feel the same way I do."  Or, "I came to talk to you because I know you see it the same way I do."  (Remember, a TRUE friend will tell you when you are wrong if you let him.  But, all too often we seek out those that we know will agree with us or are afraid to tell us the truth.  Have you ever told a boss how you REALLY felt about him and kept your job?)
     After quite a period of time of just listening, He told me how much I had helped him make up his mind and then went happily on his way and I just stood there with my mouth open.
     I wonder if God doesn't sometimes get very bored listening to our prayers.  When I was just a small child we had one of the big wall phones that you rang the operator and told her the number you wanted.  In my little hometown the grocery store delivered your groceries, if you so desired.
     When I was older my mother told me how I used to play like I was calling the store putting in my grocery order as I had seen her do.  She said I would say something like, "I want some ice cream, some candy, some gum and BE ALL," and I would hang up.  I get amused when I hear people pray and quote Scripture to God as if He has to be reminded of what He had said.
     Kind of like our prayer lives.  We place our orders with God and impatiently wait for the delivery.  Have you ever tried getting alone with God and just close your eyes and open your heart and mind to just let Him speak to you whatever HE wants to say?
     We have heard it said that the Bible is God speaking to us and prayer is us speaking to God.  But, the Bible is not the only way God wants to speak to us, although that is a great way.  He also wants to speak to us thru His Holy Spirit.  Maybe we don't want to "be still and know" that He is God.
     I want to challenge you to try it.  But, I must warn you, it is not always pleasant when He reveals us to ourselves. Go ahead!  Try it!  I double dare you!  Bro Don